Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Viola in Reel Life Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another great, great book by Adriana Trigiani.
One-third of the way through the book I was wondering how well I'd like this "young adult" novel, but thought I'd continue.
Thank goodness, that I did.
Trigiani fully develops each of her books' main characters, and the same is true with young Viola. She tells the story of a girl just entering teen-dom, moving away from home and her beloved New York, and growing up amongst three vastly different roomies.
Is Trigiani's portrayal of life in a dorm at a private boarding school correct? I can't tell you that, but I also don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much if they'd been back-biters.
Trigiani creates young women who we'd all like our daughters, nieces and granddaughters to be ... like us in that they wonder about boys, the first kiss, etc., but they won't let their gal pals or their drive for excellence take a backseat to boyfriends.
Hope to read more about Viola and hope she goes back to the boarding school, if only for a visit.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Photo courtesy of The Oak Ridger/Scott Fraker


I thought I'd start including links to some of the memorable news stories I've done in the past, at least the ones I think people who live outside our county might find memorable.
The first one? A story with Lisa Ling months prior to her sister's capture and the release by the North Koreans.
'It's Time to Take the Initiative'

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a lovely book, much like an old classic. One friend described it as a "modern-day 'Jane Eyre.'" I think it more like a 1940s-era "Wuthering Heights," written or edited by Jane Austen with a heroine pulled back in time from 2009.
Whatever it is, it's great.
Written in the form of letters, it tells the story of a writer .... I'll go no further.
I was educated to the history of the German occupation in the Guernsey Island. I was taught about these Channel Islands off the coast of England.
And I was reminded of what a good book is all about.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spent a few hours Friday and Saturday at AdventureCon in Knoxville. Got autographs, photos made, and spoke briefly with actor William Katt of "Greatest American Hero," "Carrie," and the newer episodes of "Perry Mason," and Margot Kidder aka as "Lois Lane" of "Superman" fame -- "Superman" being the now deceased actor, Christopher Reeve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Very Valentine Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap stories are my favorite, but this is a strong second. I loved it. I feel like I've taken a vacation to Italy myself, enjoyed an international romance, and learned the fine-art of custom shoemaking -- and living and surviving an Italian family.

My only gripe -- I would have changed the ending slightly. But it's not my book, is it?

View all my reviews.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Love this excerpt from the June 2009 issue of Oprah. It's an interview she does with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards. Elizabeth has a new book out, Resilience, in which she talks about, among other things, finding out about Edwards' affair. The Edwardses lost their teen-age son before they came into the public eye for most of us. Elizabeth also has terminal cancer. Anyway, here's the part of the interview, I love ...

OPRAH: In your book, you say, "Death looks different to someone who has placed a child in the ground."
ELIZABETH: It's not as frightening. If thee's an ever after -- please, please, please -- I would be leaving part of my family, but I can go and join another part, and wait for that day when we're all together again....

I fully agree.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kirk Cameron at Women of Joy Conference

Friend Ellen interviewed Kirk before his talk the first night of the conference. Read her story.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Registration opens today for next year's Women of Joy conference in Sevierville. Announced guests include author Karen Kingsbury, speaker Kay Arthur and .... MICHAEL W. SMITH & STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN!! Tickets go fast.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spied for the second time an inspirational message on a plaque that I'm touched by and need to try to remember:

Grief looks down;
Worry looks around;
Faith looks up.


I've just returned from the Women of Joy Conference in Sevierville, Tenn. I had a really good time and feel that God was speaking to me through one speaker, Carol Kent.
Will write more in later posts, but until then I'll wet your reading whistle via a preview story from The Mountain Press in Sevierville, written by my friend Ellen. Enjoy.

When 9,000 females visit the Smoky Mountains this weekend for the Women of Joy Conference, the city of Sevierville will be ready. ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Just a note that I've removed the News of Interest I'd included for this site. It was powered by Google and using my keywords it was supposed to include news containing "Jesus," "Christianity," and few other related words.

Well, today I visited my blog and didn't approve of the "news" on the top link. I'm not censoring the discussion, but if anybody wants to talk about the subjects it was touting let them go there from a site other than mine.

Monday, April 06, 2009


The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson

My review

I thankfully and prayerfully finished the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. I'll miss these ladies but I know I'll return to visit them, perhaps looking up and studying upon each of the verses they mentioned.

I hope that one day I'll have a group of "sisters" like them.

Thank you Mrs. Jackson, and I expect I'll be reading the first book in your new series soon.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes
and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes
and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty
because you can't see her,
or you can be full of
the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow
and live yesterday, or you
can be happy for tomorrow
because of yesterday.
You can remember her
and only that she's gone,
or you can cherish
her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back,

Or you can do
what she'd want:

Smile, Open Your Eyes,
Love, and Go on.

Author Unknown.

Friday, March 06, 2009


The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling: Celebration Edition The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling: Celebration Edition by Neta Nelson

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again, a well written book of characters and situations by Neta Jackson. I feel like I'm visiting good friends when I open one of these books and at this point in my life, I need that.

This time I identified with Adele. At the risk of spoiling it for some potential readers I'll say that she and I suffered the same drastic life change recently. Add the following Baxter family tragedy and you'll know that on at least two nights of reading I was sobbing. But they were cleansing tears.

I particularly related to the realization of the Baxter family about how God works through major changes in our lives. I hold fast to that thought.

This is my favorite book in the series, following the very first one.

I'm going to a Christian women's conference in May and I'm going to be disappointed if I don't connect with some of the ladies the way these ladies do.

View all my reviews.

Tips on writing from the author of The Yada Yada Prayer Group series.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Largest Christian Groups Report Membership Decline

The Christian Post reports that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and Roman Catholic Church joined dozens of other mainline denominations this year in reporting membership losses. The SBC and Roman Catholic Church are the two largest Christian communions in the country, the Post reports, and both lost less than 1 percent of membership after years of growth. According to Eileen W. Linder, editor of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, the membership drops seem to be generational. "Many churches are feeling the impact of the lifestyles of younger generations of church-goers -- the 'Gen X'ers' or 'Millenials' in their 20s and 30s who attend and support local congregations but resist joining them," Lindner states in the report, released this week. "A slowing of the rate of growth of some churches and the decline of membership of others ought to be the focus of continued research and thoughtful inquiry."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beginning of the End?
Televangelist Pat Robertson said on "The 700 Club" this morning that we should mark it on our calendars that today is the beginning of the end of the United States of America.
He was referring to the release of President Obama's proposed budget. He said U.S. dollars will become worth less and less and hyper-inflation is possible.
What do you think?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lucy Lawless to be in Web drama, 'Angel of Death'

For story, go HERE.

View the TRAILER.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Shack The Shack by William P. Young

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm very glad I read this book.

There are many good "truth nuggets" that I will probably go back and re-read, perhaps even highlight.

I think this book affects each person differently based upon happenings in her life and where she is at this point in her life. I found reading this slow for me -- not because of the writing or the story -- but because of the depth of information I was finding. I couldn't take in too much at any one time.

In the latter part of the book -- don't worry, no spoilers -- I found myself reading a few pages and crying a lot. Not happy tears, but not bad tears either. The kind that wet your whole face. Then I'd have to put the book up until the next night because I didn't feel I could emotionally take anymore, or needed to think of this nightly truth nugget, or was just too tired to go on.

As for any controversy, I chose not to read the details before I read this book and still haven't, I don't find any unless people have a problem with the way the Trinity is presented.

If you don't want to read it, or you don't think it appropriate, remember in the forward the writer says then it isn't for you.

View all my reviews.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Faith-based charities may fare better than other nonprofits in these tough economic times

Let's hope so. I know I listen to a number of ministries on the radio, some with programs outside the listening audience, and they're all hurting, all needy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

China: Dying Christian Not Allowed to See Imprisoned Wife

ASSIST News Service reports that Chinese prison officials have refused to let an elderly Christian man say goodbye to his imprisoned wife. Shuang Shuying, 79, was sentenced to two years in prison for "intentional damage of properties" in February 2007 while her son, Pastor Hua Huiqi, was in prison. She was walking to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) office to inquire about her son when a PSB car suddenly drove towards her. She held her cane protectively in front of herself, accidentally striking the vehicle. Her husband, Hua Zaichen, is 91. The couple had been targeted for years because of their work with the poor and kindness to other persecuted Christians.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Drastic improvements seen in Christian films

This cites "Fireproof," which I plan to see when it comes out on DVD later this month.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pace of Bible Translation Reaches New Highs, Translators Say

Mission News Network reports that Bible translation projects are at an all time high. "We are participating in the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation the church has ever witnessed. We're actually seeing, in reality, more translation programs being started today than we've ever seen in the history of the church," says President of Wycliffe Bible Translators Bob Creson. He said that Wycliffe is on target to have Bible translation projects underway in every known language that does not yet have the Bible in their native tongue by the year 2025. That means approximately 2,250 projects to go. Yet Creson is optimistic despite the global economic upheaval. "I think the work of Bible translation is one of those things that just transcend all these things that are going on around us," he said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Faith-Based Movie 'Not Easily Broken' Makes $5.6M Debut

Christian Post reports that yet another faith-based movie about marriage is scoring big in the box office. "Not Easily Broken," based on the novel by megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, opened at number 9 and grossed $5.6 million. Like the successful "Fireproof," another Christian film dealing with struggling marriages, "Not Easily Broken" had a relatively limited opening -- just 724 theaters nationwide. The movie focuses on the relationship between Dave and Clarice Johnson, a couple whose career frustrations and aspirations have driven a wedge in their marriage. "[I]t encourages people to fight through those struggles and to persevere and that our marital relationships are certainly worth fighting for," said Jakes, the senior pastor of 30,000-member The Potters House in Dallas, according to Charisma magazine.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Religion News Service reports that two-thirds of Americans think religion is losing its influence on U.S. life. This shows a sharp jump from just three years ago when Americans were nearly evenly split on the question, according to a new Gallup Poll. Sixty-seven percent of Americans think religious influence is waning while just 27 percent say it is increasing. That perspective demonstrates a continuing downward trend, Gallup said. But the 27 percent figure is still higher than the record low, set in a 1970 poll, when just 14 percent of Americans thought religion was increasing in influence. The latest poll also finds that the percentage of Americans believing that religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" has reached an all-time low.